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School Vice-Chair Should refrain from Vote

(Wednesday, February 6/2002)--Some members of the Halifax Regional School Board appear to want to "have it both ways" in the court of public opinion, when it comes to the controversial issue of school closures, Councillor Sue Uteck said today.

Councillor Uteck (District 13-Northwest Arm/South End) said she was surprised to read in the media this morning that Peggy Draper, vice-chair of the School Board, was quoted as saying that some schools would likely be closed as a cost-saving measure, in spite of negative public opinion and research on the issue.

She called on Ms. Draper to excuse herself from voting on the issue of school closures, because it would appear that she cannot look upon the process with an open mind.

The Councillor said "This is the same person who endorsed a public consultation process on school closures, and now she comes out and states publicly, that quite frankly, public opinion and research does not matter and schools will be closed anyway. Why did the School Board undertake this process, when it appears that they have no intention of listening?"

Councillor Uteck said parents who attended the proposed school closure meetings listened to the facts and were relieved when the special Parent Committees recommended that no schools be short-listed for closure this year.

She said it would be an obvious assumption that the School Board would give the recommendations of the Committees serious consideration.

"For example, the Committees were unsure about changing student population trends and urged the Board to seriously consider this issue. There is no evidence of any concrete savings when schools are closed. The only things that we are sure of, is that communities suffer, families suffer and children suffer, " the Councillor said.

Councillor Uteck said the Mayor's Task Force on Supplementary Funding met earlier this week with the Deputy Minister of Education, Dennis Cochrane, to examine at the funding formula "and it appears that we (HRM) are receiving equitable treatment. Perhaps, we are not managing our funding correctly?"

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Councillor Sue Uteck
(902) 221-7651

Above content last modified Thursday, November 02, 2023 at 11:40am.